Monday, February 27, 2006

European Oils

A hearty congratulations to the Swedish hockey team for their impressive victory over previously unbeaten Finland in the Olympic gold medal game yesterday. Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and the rest of the Swedes battled against a tough Finnish squad, holding on for a 3-2 win. Sundin and Forsberg set up the game-winning slapper from Nicklas Lidstrom 10 seconds into the third period. The team went back to Sweden to party before everyone headed back to North America to rejoin their NHL teams. Here's hoping Sundin and countryman Mikael Tellqvist can bring some of that golden luster to the Leafs, who sorely could use some good mojo as they fight for a playoff spot. NHL games resume tomorrow night with about five weeks until the playoffs begin; the trading deadline is next week.

Ay chihuahua:
  • The surviving members of '90s hard rock icons Alice in Chains are reuniting for a summer tour, according to Billboard.com. Singer Layne Staley died of a heroin overdose in 2002, but had been struggling with his demons for many years before that; the band hadn't played a show since 1996. Jerry Cantrell, the musical driving force behind AIC, has released a couple of pretty good solo albums in the intervening years since the band ground to a halt. They're playing as part of a tribute concert for Heart next week with Will Duvall of Comes with the Fall as their singer, after which they plan to settle on a singer for the tour. I saw them back in '92 at the old Channel club in Boston; Staley was in a wheelchair because of a broken leg, but he belted out a great performance and was even hanging from the exposed pipes of the place at one point. Cantrell's an excellent guitarist, so I'll be interested to see where they go from here. One encouraging sign is AIC apparently turned down CBS's overtures to become the next guinea pig band on the oh-so-lame Rock Star reality show.
  • One of my favorite podcasts of the past few months has been the Ricky Gervais show, which featured the creator of The Office bantering about this, that, and the other thing with writing partner Stephen Merchant and producer/idiot savant Karl Pilkington. Funny, funny shiznitt. Well, they did 12 episodes produced by the Guardian newspaper and now are trying something different: a paid podcast through Audible that costs $1.95 per episode or four for $6.95. This bears watching simply because nobody's had the cojones to start charging for a podcast yet. Gervais certainly has the star power, especially in Europe, to try something like this; if he does well, no doubt others will follow. I'm not planning to pony up the dough just yet, but I'll follow this with interest.
  • I'm as critical of the Leafs as any fan at times, but the Toronto Sun went too far by publishing a list of the 50 worst Leafs of all time. The list, attributed to "Sun staff," doesn't even provide any rationale for their choices; it's just a list of names. I'm sure it was all done in fun, and a lot of those guys were pretty bad, but just running a list comes off as mean-spirited and lazy. I wouldn't want to be the Sun beat reporter who has to cross paths next with big Wade Belak, who made the list.

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